One hundred seventy-five hectares (430 acres) in a single estate set in the heart of the Montefalco DOCG area. The plots, clayey and rich in limestone, have various geological origins: some are deep, while others are rocky, thereby providing intense and varied nuances to the wines. The hills are pristine, surrounded by wooded areas and have an ideal microclimate for vines and olive trees. Ten hectares (24 acres) are dedicated to olive groves, while 50 (123 acres) are covered by vineyards; these crops are located on the hilltops, with southern and western exposure. We cultivate mainly native varietals: Grechetto and Trebbiano Spoletino for the whites, while the red varietals are mainly Sangiovese and Sagrantino.
At the heart of the property, just below the original manor house, is the Winery; the cellars are completely underground and designed for gravity vinification, with the pressed grapes falling down into the fermentation tanks and the pomace discarded without pumps, simply using the force of gravity. Only grapes cultivated by the winery using organic agricultural methods are used, thereby offering a product in which each phase of the process has evaluated characteristics, merits and potential, with the additional guarantee of organic certification, both of the grapes and the wines.
Antonelli San Marco also offers wine-tourism hospitality in the antique farmhouse called Casale Satriano, which has been carefully restored and tastefully decorated: 6 independent apartments with a swimming pool, surrounded by vineyards and a breathtaking landscape, just a short drive from the most beautiful Medieval villages of Umbria…
Finally, the cooking school, Cucina in Cantina, offers courses on Umbrian cuisine, lunches and dinners by appointment for groups, wine tastings and guided tours of the historical winery.
The estate is mentioned in several Medieval documents, in which San Marco de Corticellis is described as a Longobard cohort and one of the territories most suited for the cultivation of vines and olives.
Between the 13th and 19th centuries, the property belonged to the bishop of Spoleto. Indeed, the current boundaries are practically the same as those described in a 13th-century document currently preserved in the Bishop’s Archive.
In 1883 it was purchased by Francesco Antonelli, a lawyer from Spoleto. He began a radical transformation and modernization of the planting and farming. A report from 1899 mentions that the vineyards were already planted with 5000 vines per hectare and that the red wines were showing excellent characteristics. There were also great improvements for the tenant farmers’ welfare: “their health and the ease with which they could meet their domestic needs make them more efficient in their labor and more fond of the property…”
Distinguished by this philosophy, the Antonelli estate eventually started bottling and marketing its wines in 1979. With a great history behind them, the Antonelli’s are passionately committed to caring for their territory and to ensuring the quality of their organic wine and extra virgin olive oil.
Filippo Antonelli has been at the helm of the estate since 1986. He divides his time between Montefalco and Rome where he manages another family wine estate, Castello di Torre in Pietra.
Born in Rome in 1960, he graduated from Perugia University with a degree in agriculture. He is the actual president of the “Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco” and covered the same role for ten years from 1996 to 2006.
Paolo Salvi, Consulting Oenologist;
Massimiliano Caburazzi, Resident Oenologist;
Ruggero Mazzilli, Vineyard Consultant;
Alessio Moretti, Vineyard Manager;
Wendy Aulsebrook, Home Economist “Cucina in Cantina”.
The cellar is located in the heart of the estate, below the manor house. It has recently been expanded with new underground areas for wood and bottle ageing and an underground fermentation room on two levels.
Our wines are made exclusively from the estate’s organically grown grapes in order to offer a product whose potential, characteristics and quality can be controlled and evaluated at every phase of production.
The vinification and the successive racking, takes place using gravity rather than having to make use of pumps and risk damaging the skins of the grapes.
Vineyards are planted on the hilly slopes with an average altitude of 350 m a.s.l., leaving the valleys for grain crops.
The whole terrain is clayey and rich in limestone deposits, dating from different geological periods: part of this very deep, other parts very rich in fossils, both giving the wine intense and varied tones. Surrounded by woodlands, the hilly area is an ideal microclimate for vineyards and olive groves.
The word Sagrantino derives from the Latin “Sacer”, a holy wine destined for consumption during Christmas festivals. Pliny the Elder is his Natural History mentions an “itriola” grape that was found in this area and he could well have been referring to Sagrantino. Nothing definite is known about the origins of this varietal. It is possible that Sagrantino is not a local varietal at all but was brought in from Asia Minor by the follower of St. Francis or that it was imported as a consequence of invasions of the Saracens. Coccorone, as Montefalco was once known, has written records of vineyards dating from 1088. From the first half of the 15th century strict rules governed the vineyards and from 1540 onwards the date of the Sagrantino harvest was fixed by municipal order.
The first written documents that mention Sagrantino in Montefalco date back to the 16th century. In 1925 Montefalco, the host town for a large enological exhibition, was already described as the “most important wine area of the region”. The DOC in 1979 and the DOCG in 1992 acknowledge the tradition and the quality of wines from this area.
With the 2012 harvest, the production of our vineyards has passed the 3 year conversion period and is officially certified organic.
The 2012 production also made use of the newly formed European legislation on organic wines, Regulation CE 203/2012, so our 2012 wines are certified as organic wines and not just only as produced from organic grapes, as it was possible to certify up until the 2011 harvest.
The choice to become organic is motivated by the desire to pursue the goal of total quality, intended not only as a salubrity product and respect for the environment, but also as an added value to the territorial expression of our production.
For some time we have been working almost exclusively with auctonous grapes and we have recently embarked on an internal zonation, to better define the characteristics and peculiarities of the individual parts of the vineyard.
Organic management is specifically intended to highlight and emphasize the differences, bringing individual vineyards to a full expressive maturity: a vineyard that can regulate itself, is a vineyard that can best express its specificity, either those of Trebbiano Spoletino or Grechetto, of Montefalco Rosso blend, or of Sagrantino.
Working organically means thinking about the vineyard as an ecosystem in which all the vital elements that compose it are in equilibrium with each other. This is achieved by stimulating the vitality of the soil and improving its quality, encouraging self-regulation of individual plants and reducing external inputs. The organic fertilizers not only serve to nourish the plants, but more generally to enrich the soil with humus and microorganisms. Likewise restricting pesticide treatments not only promotes the wholesomeness of the product, but it serves to create a living environment where microorganisms, plants and animals contribute to the welfare of the entire agrosystem.
It’s a slow path, with no immediate results, yet patience is a virtue, considering that our family has been cultivating the San Marco vineyards for more than 130 years.
As for the wine, the application of the new rules arising from statutory regulations, will not substantially change our way of making wine, since we have always strongly limited the use of adjuvant substances commercially available. Having an organic certification is in any case a better guarantee for the consumer, and for us a further incentive for improvement.
We would like to clarify that for us to vinify organic does not mean leaving the production to occur “by itself”. On the contrary to make a quality organic wine it’s necessary to monitor and take care rigorously of all stages of production, also taking into consideration the fact that the reduction or absence of synthetic products and adjuvants leads to a higher risk of exposure to unwelcomed natural phenomena, that can result in gross defects and total loss of identity of the grape and the terroir.
Our idea of organic wine is that of a wine able to express the peculiarities of expression of the grape in our territory. That uniqueness of expression can be summed up in the word Terroir.
In summary, for us organic basically means respect: of the environment, the territory, the grape, the wine product, and the consumer.